Comparing eLearning tools

One of the goals that we try to teach our students is that they should know about the major software packages. In my program we have them use each software package in addition to learning about them so that they can see the advantages and disadvantages to each. Here is a nice little chart I found with article to accompany it. While it doesnt compare all software (ie flash, articulate stoyline, etc.) it does have many others. You can check out the full article here

MOOCs: MoocDonald’s article a must read

Massive open online course’s (MOOCs)…..I see some advantages, disadvantages, and learning and research opportunities within their domain but am still undecided as to what my predictions are for them and how they will impact education so I am holding off writing about that. But I did read an article yesterday by one of my favorite faculty (Dr. Kyle Peck) from Penn State University and think it is a very good read. Dr. Peck is an expert in this field (probably more than anyone else I know for this kind of thing), he has both corporate and education experience, has managed his own charter school, has served in management at the university, and has worked with many many school districts, so he knows his stuff. I do have to say I really like some of the ideas coming out of this article:
“Most of us have options when it comes to food.  We can buy groceries and make choices in terms of quality — from junk food to organic, from Captain Crunch to granola and corn dogs to kale.  When we eat out we can grab fast food, stop at a chain restaurant, or choose a fine dining experience, although for these restaurants to run they need the best POS, and they can get the meaning of POS from POSUSA.com to find the best software for their establishments.  We can eat there, eat in our cars, or take it home. We can finish it off at home as a midnight snack.  Different options make sense at different stages of our lives, and on different days, and these choices have implications in terms of cost, time, social interactions, and ultimately, in terms of overall wellness.  For billions of less fortunate others, however, options are few and a next meal is not guaranteed…..” rest of article here

Firefox: Opensource browser turns 10!

My favorite web browser that I use on my computer and phone has just turned 10. I love this browser because its truly open source and my browser of choice.

To download firefox

Here is a brief history of it:

Source

March 31, 1998: Coders at Netscape start an open-source project. They call it Mozilla, a former codename for the Netscape Navigator browser which was extremely popular in the 1990s. Mozilla was derived from the words “mosaic” (another popular 1990s browser) and “killer.”

Sept. 23, 2002: The release of “Phoenix 0.1” marks the earliest version of the browser that would eventually become known as Firefox.

July 15, 2003: The Mozilla Foundation is established. The foundation is a non-profit organization whose core belief is, “The Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold.”

June 15, 2004: Mozilla launches the Add-ons Gallery, an official comprehensive list of all the extensions, themes and plug-ins users can employ to customize their browsers.

Nov. 9, 2004: Mozilla unveils Firefox 1.0, the first full version of the browser. Fans of the project organized a full-page advertisement in The New York Times to herald the release.

Aug. 12, 2006: Enthusiastic Firefox fans, mostly students from Oregon State, make a 220-foot wide crop circle reproduction of the Firefox logo in an oat field near Amity, Ore.

Feb. 21, 2008: The total for downloads of Firefox surpasses 500 million.

June 17, 2008: Mozilla releases Firefox Version 3.0, which establishes a Guinness World Record for “Most Downloads of a Software Application in 24 Hours,” totaling more than 8 million. There was no previous record.

Feb. 8, 2011: The beta version of Firefox 4 includes a “Do Not Track” feature, furthering the company’s commitment to privacy awareness.

March 29, 2011: Firefox releases a mobile browser for Android devices, initially available in more than 10 languages.

April 2011: The company implements a “Rapid Release” schedule, making a new version of Firefox available every six weeks. By this schedule, there are always four versions of Firefox being worked on at a given time. Users can try the “Nightly” version, which has the latest updates that have not been fully vetted; the “Aurora” version, which is more stabilized; or the “Beta” version, the last step before an official release.

July 26, 2012: The download total for add-ons surpasses 3 billion. Firefox currently has over 17,000 user-created add-ons.

Today: More than 450 million people use Firefox. About 40% of the code was written by volunteers. The browser is extremely popular around the world; it is available in 75 languages and more than half of users employ non-English versions”

HTML5 Security and Vulnerability Issues

While these are fairly obvious they are something that users pushing HTML5 should be aware of. The first is vulnerability. What does this mean?

All of your code is essentially open source. While thats great for me, its not great for businesses and really anyone who is trying to make money off of their software. There are some ways around it but keep in mind that both HTML5 and Javascript are open source. Here is a good article that goes into it:

HTML5 – Not Designed for Business Applications

The next issue is security. Apparently the standards have not really been developed with security in mind as it will really be up the developers, users, and browsers. So there are going to be some issues when this is used more often…and of course this is the case with any new technology. Here is an article that goes into the topic:

Old hacking tricks work too easily in attacks on HTML5, security expert says

Are digital e-books and tablets a cheaper option than standard textbooks?

This is a question I have been pondering: Has a cost benefit analysis been done on this? Here is what I have found in my limited research on this topic..if anyone has more research please let me know and keep in mind I am focusing on cost, not learning here. Apparently it might cost as much or more to go digital. There might also be accessibility issues. However, there are trends changing this that could make it significantly cheaper. So it seems that the answer to my question, what is the cost benefit? Well I guess it can go either way but if its more expensive now, it will probably be significantly cheaper in the future. Here is the section from an article that discusses this (http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB1002.pdf). If anyone has any other research about this cost please post as I am interested in this question:

“Many believe that digital textbooks are the solution to textbook affordability and accessibility on college campuses. Research by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs) suggests that many digital textbooks do not currently provide lower-cost alternatives to traditional print books when total cost of ownership is calculated.19 Digital editions can be as costly and sometimes more costly to produce than traditional print editions, particularly as the content moves toward more interactive or “born digital” editions, since making digital documents is easier now a days with programs as sodapdf and others. As digital editions become more interactive, the learning value might increase, but accessibility to individuals with various disabilities can be affected. Accessibility issues can create legal and educational challenges for institutions.20 For many institutions, there is a financial return that comes from course materials sales. That revenue most often goes to financial aid and tuition sustainability, student activities, or capital projects. The loss of revenue in a time of shrinking budgets, particularly revenue to support financial aid, could result in improved textbook affordability at the cost of overall educational affordability.

There are interesting opportunities on the horizon to help reduce textbook costs with digital solutions. Several institutions have found print-on-demand to be an effective way to improve affordability. Some of the open access textbook initiatives also show great promise for improving affordability, and this is an area getting much attention at state and federal levels, as well as among private investors. Most students still prefer print, however, and will often choose to pay for a print edition rather than take a digital version for free. While we expect this trend to change, universities could combine these two areas of opportunity, adding value for students while reducing textbook costs and maintaining campus financial returns.”

Facebook videos not playing?

I had this problem on 3 of my computers and thought it was a Mac issue. Well maybe it is but I have been reading online that PCs are having the problem as well. Now I am not 100% sure what is causing the issue, whether its a setting on the computer, browsers, or in facebook itself, or even in a plug in. But I do know a solution:)

In your address bar you will see something like: http://www.facebook.com or www.facebook.com

The problem is that your browser is looking for a secure connection to view the video. So to view it you need to make sure there is an (s) in that web address like so:

https://www.facebook.com

Do you see the (s)? Type that in and reload your page. The video should now play. And yea you will need to do this each time you want to view one but at least its working.

The ‘Woz’, founder of Apple computer, take on the patent wars

The Woz (Steve Wozniak) is truly awesome. For those that do not recognize his name, he co founded apple computer with steve jobs and in fact, was the one who invented the comptuer. Steve Jobs was more of the front man. Anyway, here is his take on the patent wars:

“I hate it…I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody’s technologies.”

Source: Mashable